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Friday, May 7, 2004

Mitchell Receives 2004 Outstanding Research Mentor Award

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Miguel Mitchell, assistant professor in the Chemistry Department, is the winner of Salisbury University’s 2004 Outstanding Research Mentor Award, presented at the fourth annual SU Research Conference. Mitchell is working with students on several projects, including one that could one day create an affordable cure for tuberculosis by synthesizing an armory of compounds he hopes will be highly selective in destroying TB, causing minimal side effects.  One-third of the world's population is infected with TB. Millions die every year from this disease, and present treatments are too expensive for most or ineffective. Once made at SU, these potential antitubercular agents are shipped off to the Southern Research Institute for detailed testing.  So far, Mitchell and his students have submitted seven compounds to SRI and have two promising leads. Mitchell is also working with students to better understand Alzheimer's, a fatal and incurable neurogenerative disease that mostly affects the elderly. They have confirmed previous research that bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDC), a component of the spice curry, is nontoxic and very effective at protecting cells from beta amyloid peptide, one causative agent of Alzheimer's.  Through further research, he and his students are trying to understand how BDC works and to find even better compounds to protect cells against beta-amyloid.  “My research students are wonderful,” Mitchell said. “Their unabashed enthusiasm about scientific discovery keeps me energized, creative and happy to be a chemistry professor.” Mitchell was nominated by his students and selected by a committee of SU faculty members based on letters from students and other faculty, his curriculum vita and other supporting materials. Some 260 students, each of them assisted by an SU professor, presented their work during this year’s conference. The annual event celebrates student scholarship, artistic and professional achievement and gives them a chance to share their knowledge and ability. Presentations are organized into themed sessions, ranging from molecular biology to music composition, marketing to literary theory. Student research is an international movement in higher education, broadly recognized for giving students a chance to focus their enthusiasm for a subject into the capstone experience of an independent project. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.

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